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How to Hygge: Inside the Cozy Danish Concept

How you can practice the Scandinavian concept that is sweeping the U.S. when you visit Opal’s coziest locations this winter.


Hygge isn’t a product. It isn’t something you can buy. Pronounced “hoo-gah,” it’s a Danish word and concept that’s been around since the 1800s that defines a feeling that comes from recognizing the small joys and pleasures of a moment. In English, we use words like coziness, happiness, simplicity, and joy to describe it, but perhaps the closest is “contentedness.”

In fact, you’ve likely experienced hygge before without ever realizing it. It’s that feeling you get when you realize how beautiful your neighborhood is when it snows, or how it feels to wrap up in a blanket and read a favorite book or binge-watch a Netflix show with friends. It is not staring at your phone. It is not complaining about bad weather. After all, Scandinavian countries – with long, cold winters and sometimes up to 17 hours of darkness a day for months – are ranked as the happiest nations in the world. Experts say that’s owed largely to hygge.

And there’s no better time and place to put this Scandinavian principle into practice than this winter at three of Opal’s northern resorts: Lake Placid Lodge, The Sagamore Resort, and Samoset Resort. In fact, here are some of our favorite hygge moments to be had across these three resorts.

Lake Placid Lodge hygge

Lake Placid Lodge [Lake Placid, NY]

Lake Placid Lodge is nestled on a secluded corner of Lake Placid, surrounded by evergreens, and receives 103 inches of snowfall annually. Its natural winter beauty makes it the ideal location for a hygge crash course – so much so, the Robb Report called it its number-one “hygge hideaway” back in 2017.

Appreciate the Season

Cap an evening off at the nightly year-round lakeside bonfire surrounded by friends or family, enjoying hot chocolate, s’mores, or a hot boozy beverage from Maggie’s Pub.

Be Present

Sink into the plush couch within the cozy wood-paneled Maggie’s Pub, and partake in a board game or puzzle from the many on hand, including Monopoly, chess, and checkers, with your friends, family, or other resort guests. Accompany it with warm ginger cake and gingersnap streusel.

Slow it Down

In the Main Lodge, Lakeside Building, Cabins, and Overlook Rooms, deep soaking tubs are the place to enjoy a glass of bubbly, followed by a book beside your own personal stone fireplace.
The Sagamore Resort hygge

The Sagamore Resort [Bolton Landing, NY]

Located on its own island on Lake George, The Sagamore Resort offers unparalleled views of the lake and the surrounding Adirondacks. The beauty and seclusion of the resort are perfect for slowing down and noticing the finer details.

Appreciate the Season

Wander through the Lake George Winter Carnival – hosted on the weekends all February long – while taking in the chowder cook-offs, fireworks, and hot chocolate bar at Shepard’s Park Beach.

Be Present

Snowshoe the resort’s Nature Trail, which runs along the shoreline of Green Island and offers up-close-and-personal views of the frozen lake, then cap it with a hot, frothy cappuccino in front of the fire in Caldwell’s Lounge.

Slow it Down

Book a couple’s massage at the resort’s remodeled spa, boasting natural wood tones and 11 massage rooms. Or, select from the in-room services, allowing you to indulge in the pampering massage therapies from the comfort of your room outside of the spa’s business hours.
Samoset Resort hygge

Samoset Resort [Rockport, ME]

Perched on 230 acres on the shores of Penobscot Bay, the Samoset Resort is an idyllic New England winter location. Its proximity to the historic downtowns of Rockport and Camden create opportunities to see the area at its most beautiful, when hygge moments abound.

Be Present

Watch chefs extrude and hang raw pasta and toss pizza dough at the open-concept antipasto bar in the resort’s Enoteca Lounge, before tucking into your own fire-roasted sweet peppers or salami board.

Slow it Down

Book an Ocean View Hot Tub Suite to unwind in your own luxurious hot tub set on a spacious balcony with privacy shades and stunning views over Penobscot Bay.

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